Hospitable Kazan: belesh without onion, info tents and crazy routes for fans

Waiting for the Confederations Cup, Kazan prepared a detailed guide across Tatarstan and put up five info tents in the city centre

Hospitable Kazan: belesh without onion, info tents and crazy routes for fans Photo: Maksim Platonov

Kazan announced the No. 1 readiness on the threshold of the Confederations Cup: five tents are already working in the city centre – they look like football balls with volunteers who are ready to help tourists. Specially trained guides across the republic appeared in establishments of the city who promise to show the way to 1001 delights. Realnoe Vremya tells how many tourists are expected to visit the main sports events of the year and how Tatarstan received the beginning of the tourist season.

Really hospitable Kazan

On 6 June, journalists were presented info points where volunteers of Hospitable Kazan project help guests of the Tatarstan capital to orientate in the area better. Smiling and helpful guys welcomed the journalists in a small tent in the form of a football ball in the style of Visit Tatarstan. After talking to them, there was an impression that Kazan was a really hospitable city. It was decided to put 5 such tents up. The instalment and filling cost the republic 2 million 200k rubles in total. They will work during the summer in 2017 and 2018. This year, apart from the tent in the square and near the Kamal Theatre, other points will help in the Old Tatar Settlement, Shalyapin Palace Hotel, Nogay and the Kazan Kremlin from 1 June.

Director of the Assembly of Tourist Volunteers of Tatarstan Yulia Bashirova told that three volunteers with a supervisor were working in these tents before the start of the Confederations Cup. Guys were found in specialised universities. They are all first- and second-year students who fluently speak English and went through special training. The work in the tents is counted as summer practice for them. They work in two shifts – from 10.30 to 14.30 and from 14.30 to 18.30. The regiment of volunteers will have an addition from 17 June – five people with a supervisor will help tourists. Info centres will also be open from 9.00 to 21.00. The responsible mission will be entrusted to schoolchildren from 9.00 to 13.00. 250 people are going to work in the tents during the Confederations Cup. After the large-scale event, the volunteers will return to their usual schedule of Hospitable Kazan project.

Three volunteers with a supervisor are working in these tents before the start of the Confederations Cup

''Without onion''

Curiously, the info centres opened only less than a week ago, but the volunteers already have had a stable traffic of visitors. At the moment, at least 128 people visit them on working days. The number is twice higher at weekends.

According to the guys, Americans and Englishmen ask for help the most. But people from Italia, India, Taiwan and China can also be seen in the tents. The latter are famous for not speaking English – this is why all the airports and hotels of the cities with Chinese tourists are equipped with letterings in Chinese. However, the language barrier doesn't impede Tatarstan volunteers from speaking to guests from the Celestial Kingdom – the guys told with a smile that many Chinese people translate their requests into English with gadgets. The friendliness and openness of guests that give the volunteers a very good impression are an additional bonus.

Questions how to get some place, location of free entrance, sightseeings are at the top asked questions by foreigners. In addition, as female students say guests try to acquaint with them and ask their phone number 3-4 times a day. The only young man in the tent near the Kamal Theatre has not been asked for his phone number by men yet. He said it to the journalists with relief. At the same time, he told, for example, he was asked an interesting question. A foreigner asked the volunteer where he could eat belesh and how to say ''without onion''. As a result, the guy wrote the Russian transcription of ''without onion'' on his map and sent the guest to taste the Tatarstan bakery.

Kazan expects 35-40% more tourists

150-200,000 tourists are expected in the republic during the Confederations Cup.

''We expect about 150-200,000 tourists during two weeks. Probably this number will be higher. We will know the final data after the Confederations Cup ends,'' Chairman of the Committee for Tourism of Tatarstan Sergey Ivanov told. According to him, it is 35-40% more than during a usual tourist season. Tour Centre that organises trips around Kazan, to Bolgar, Sviyazhsk, Yelabuga, Chistopol will work harder.

Individual excursions were specially prepared for fans. Sergey Ivanov called them crazy. A visit to Sviyaga shooting complex, races at Kazan Ring, sky jumping are among them. One can know about the offers in both info and tour centres and hotels.

''A fan can choose each block separately or to make one route during the whole day, so to speak: to swim in Blue Lake, shoot a rifle and race in a car,'' the director of the Committee for Tourism explained.

The books were printed in five languages: Russian, English, German, Spanish and Chinese

Free guide with 1001 delights

In addition, Tatarstan Tourism Development Centre prepared an official tour guide for the summer season called Tatarstan: 1001 Delights. The books were printed in five languages: Russian, English, German, Spanish and Chinese. As Sergey Ivanov says, the most popular languages were chosen to cover as many people as possible.

''We analysed the tourist flow and looked which teams will come. It is clear they are Spanish-speaking teams and teams of the Old World. Figuratively speaking, German fans travel more. In addition, other European countries know English, as a rule. The Chinese language stands apart. China has only the Chinese language, and we know it,'' the speaker commented with a smile.

By the way, the job on the guide was done responsibly. One can find information about any site.

Days in Tatarstan for tourists were scheduled very comfortably and in detail. They are offered 8 routes in 6 cities during 8 days. There is also information about transport, parking, emergency service, bicycle rental, river walking, currency exchange, upcoming events, nightclubs of Kazan with an average receipt and transmission of Confederations Cup matches. Establishments with national cuisine for foodies, theatres, fitness clubs, spas, banyas, places for all kinds of leisure – this guide really has all the 1001 delights to taste in the republic.

There are 20,000 copies only in Russian. The State Committee for Tourism hopes there will be enough guides for the Confederations Cup and the resting summer tourist season.

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By Maria Gorozhaninova. Photo: Maksim Platonov